Metering: Reps inspect Sabrud, move to curb estimated billing
The Federal House of Representatives has said it was determined to strengthen the operations of indigenous meter manufactures and curb cases of estimated billing in the country.
Mr Isreal Famuyiwa, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc Committee on Power to curb excessive charges by Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) made the assertion on Friday in Awka.
The committee inspected the Sabrud Consortium, an indigenous meter manufacturing firm based in Awka.
Famuyiwa said there was need to encourage and protect local manufacturers and implored them to bridge the metering gap which had resulted in estimated and excessive billing.
“Meter manufacturing needs to be encouraged to enable them play their role for a win-win situation in the power sector and conserve foreign exchange.
“We are here to inspect Sabrud factory, to confirm their capacity and the quality of their products and to be sure that they are up to standard. We have seen what they can offer Nigerians in terms of provision of meter.
“From what we have seen, I can say that they are up to standard, so, the House of Representatives will provide assistance not only to Sabrud but all local meter manufacturing companies in the country.
“This is because the only way to grow the sector and help the country is to encourage indigenous production of the products and discourage importation,” he said.
He said that though the extant law guiding the sector still enabled Distribution Companies to distribute meters, the House of Representatives would amend the necessary sections to enable customers buy directly from manufacturers.
“There is a policy called Meter Assets Providers Scheme (MAPS) 2018. This is the policy that will enable electricity consumers to procure meters directly from manufacturers when it comes to full operation.
“Maybe the law that guides the sector still empowers Discos to sell meters but after our assignment, we are going to amend the law which guides distribution of electricity and supply of meter to consumers,” he said.
A representative of Anambra Government, Mr Victor Meju, said the issue of estimated billing and lack of meters for electricity consumers had been a challenge in the power sector.
Meju, the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Willie Obiano on Power, Energy, Public Utilities and Water Resources, said it was fair billing and access to meter was every consumer’s right.
He lauded Sabrud for their intervention role in the sector and called on the Federal Government to support them, having passed all regulatory and eligibility tests.
“They have a great vision of salvaging the power crisis in this country as it concerns metering. If you observe, the Federal Government has expressed worry on why Discos will supply power and place customers on estimated billing.
“But the law says every customer should have a meter, so firms like this which have passed through the regulatory process, standardisation process should be allowed to go into the market.
“I expect that after this visit, the Federal Government should make it possible for people to purchase meters and get the Discos to install them,” he said.
On his part, Mr Chisom Nwangwu, the Managing Director of Sabrud Consurtium, said the goal of Electricity Meter Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (EMMAN) was to ensure that Nigerians were metered.
Nwangwu expressed the hope that the visit of the members of the House of Representatives would further convince government that Nigerians had the capacity to bridge the metering gap.
He said that the economy would also be better for it as more jobs will be created.
“I’m sure that they have seen that we are ready and capable of helping the Federal Government to realise the objective of metering Nigerians in the shortest possible time.
“This can be achieved if consumers are allowed to buy meters directly from manufacturers. Our products are of international standards and SON MANCAP certified.
“If manufacturers are allowed to participate in the market, more jobs will be created, foreign exchange will be saved, consumers and Discos will be happy because issues of estimated billing will be a thing of the past,” he said.
Other members of the committee on the visit were Reps. Onyemaechi Mrakpo, Edwin Anayo, and Agboola Kehinde.